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Area may have much to gain if Strickland runs

Will Rep. Ted Strickland run for Ohio governor? Will he run for U.S. Senate? Or will he stay put? All of those questions have been swirling around for months.

On Monday, we may finally get the answer directly from the horse’s mouth. Sources close to Strickland leaked last week that the six-term congressman would seek the Democratic nomination for the Ohio governor’s position that will be vacant next year when term limits oust current Republican governor Bob Taft.

Strickland had originally said in January that he would not run for the office, so the reports, if proven true, would show an about face for the Lisbon resident. The 6th District, which Strickland represents, runs from just south of Youngstown all the way down the Ohio River to the state’s southern tip.

We are not certain if Strickland will run or not. We think he will, but he may change his mind again on Monday.

And, we are not certain that if he opts to run that he’ll be able to muster enough support in areas of the state in which he has not directly represented.

But we do know that among the people who have thrown their hats in the ring for the governor’s race, no one has made more friends in Southeast Ohio than Strickland.

He has supported projects in our area that may have otherwise not only been moved to the back burner, but perhaps fallen off the stovetop entirely.

Chief among them in recent years would be the Chesapeake Bypass project. Almost without fail, each time when the chips were down and it appeared funding was nowhere to be found, Strickland managed to secure just enough dollars to keep the project going.

For those efforts and many others, Strickland has made friends in our area. We hope if he chooses to run that he’ll keep this area of the state and other rural areas in the top of his thoughts.

Redistricting that has split up the county so it is a minor portion of a much larger district has effectively emasculated areas such as Lawrence County. Perhaps having a governor from the area would help offset that small handicap? Only time, and Ted Strickland’s decision, can tell for sure.